Glycosylation inhibitors, glucosamine or tunicamycin, have been found to be specific inhibitory modulators for melanogenesis, which is accentuated generally in malignant melanoma cells. Exposure to glucosamine (1 mg/ml) or tunicamycin (0.2 to 0.4 µg/ml) induces a marked pigment loss within melanoma cells in vitro with a decrease in their growth curves. This melanogenic inhibition occurs without a substantial decrease in the synthesis of DNA, RNA, and protein in comparison with a specific, marked suppression of carbohydrate synthesis as revealed by suppressed mannose incorporation into these cells. Assay of tyrosinase of glucosamine- or tunicamycin-induced unpigmented melanoma cells has revealed a selective and marked decrease in the melanosome-rich large-granule fraction, but no substantial decrease in the total activity of remaining subcellular fractions. Electrophoresis of tyrosinase in the 30,000 × g supernatant fraction demonstrates an increase in the T1 form of soluble tyrosinase, while a disappearance of or marked decrease in membrane-bound tyrosinase, T3, is seen in the small- and large-granule fractions. Glycoprotein synthesis in the melanogenic subcellular compartments of pigment cells seems to play an integral role in melanogenesis which is principally enhanced in their carcinogenic status.

This content is only available via PDF.